Queensland’s students will help lead the charge against organic waste with $500,000 in funding from the state government to help schools tackle food and garden rubbish generated in the schoolyard.
It comes as the sunshine state launches consultation on its long-term strategy to prevent food scraps and garden waste from ending up in landfill, and instead be recycled.
State schools will be able to apply for grants of up to $2500 to reduce their organic waste and instead turn it into valuable products through composting, worm farms and circular food waste systems.
Grant applications open at the start of term 4 on 5 October 5, 2021 and close on 29 October.
“Fifty per cent of the rubbish that goes into the bin is waste from our food and gardens,” Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon said.
“That’s waste that can be turned into valuable products like compost, soil and mulch, rather than becoming methane gas in a landfill and contributing to climate change.
“Where better to change behaviours around waste than in the schoolyard, where kids can build those good habits early and take some ideas home.”
Scanlon said governments, workplaces, schools, community groups and families across Queensland are looking for opportunities to reduce waste, reduce emissions, increase recycling and increase jobs in resource recovery.
“We know that for every job created when waste is disposed to landfill, you can create three times that when you invest in recycling and resource recovery,” she said.
“That’s why we’ve created the $40 million recycling modernisation fund and have seen billions of containers recycled through our containers for change scheme – but we know there’s more to do.
“In Queensland 1.8 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2016-17, with a third of that from households alone. On the other hand, organic recycling in 2018-19 showed the benefits of recycling organics with 3.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide saved – equivalent to planting 844,096 trees or taking 130,392 cars off the road.”
The government is now seeking public feedback on its draft Queensland Organics Strategy 2022-2032. Submission close 1 November, 2021.
Scanlon said the strategy sets out the actions needed to drive how the state avoids and better manages waste in the short, medium and long-term.
The draft Queensland Organics Strategy 2022-2032 seeks to avoid the generation of food and other organic wastes, reduce organic material going to landfill and the greenhouse gas this generates, reduce losses in food production and transport, improve soil health, and nutrient and water quality, improve food security, and build infrastructure, investment and employment, and reduce costs.
The draft organics strategy was developed in consultation with local government, industry peak bodies, non-government organisations, and the resource recovery sector.
For more information about the Organics Waste Smart Schools Program visit: www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/recovery/funding-grants
For more Information about the draft Queensland Organics Strategy 2022-2032 visit www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/recovery/reduction/organic-waste